MSC Cruises Expands Winter and Family Offerings in 2017/2018

As MSC Cruises launches its newest ship, the MSC Meraviglia, that’s not the only expansion for the Swiss-based cruise line.  MSC Cruises has significant plans for future expansion consisting of up to 11 new, next-generation MSC Cruises ships coming into service between 2017 and 2026.  MSC Cruises is also enhancing its family offerings including an innovative partnership with LEGO.  Kids 11 and under sail free and kids 12-17 sail at a significantly discounted rate, making a family more affordable.  Continue reading for details on MSC Cruises late season and family offerings.

MSC Meraviglia

MSC Meraviglia, arriving in June 2017, will become the first cruise ship ever to feature an entertainment lounge built specifically for Cirque du Soleil. Image courtesy MSC Cruises

From MSC Cruises Press Release

Offering sun-lovers and adventure-seekers a chance to escape the winter chill, MSC Cruises has announced it will offer the most comprehensive range of Winter cruising options in company history. The expanded offerings are part of a milestone year for MSC Cruises, with two new next-generation ships coming into service in 2017 alone. MSC Meraviglia, arriving in June 2017, will spend the winter in the Mediterranean, and MSC Seaside, arriving in December 2017, will homeport in Miami sailing the Caribbean. Beyond the expansion in MSC Cruises’ fleet, travelers will also benefit from more ships deployed from the Caribbean and South America as well as exciting itineraries departing from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

MSC Cruises

MSC Seaside, image courtesy MSC Cruises

CARIBBEAN HIGHLIGHTS

Guests exploring Caribbean cruises can enjoy year-round sunshine and an abundance of choices. With several ships serving the region — including two ships departing from Miami and one from Fort de France, Martinique and Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe — there will be nearly 50 departures to choose from during the season.

New for 2017/18: MSC Seaside, ‘the ship that follows the sun,’ will be christened in Miami in December 2017 and will offer guests a truly unique Caribbean experience. Featuring a striking beach condo design, the cruise ship will connect guests to the sea like never before with a 360o outdoor promenade, two glass-floor catwalks extending off the side of the ship, and glass elevators with a panoramic ocean view. MSC Seaside offers two different itineraries. The first itinerary, visiting the Eastern Caribbean, includes calls at the buzzing Puerto Rico city of San Juan — well known for its contrast of quiet cobblestone streets and lively bars and restaurants; Philipsburg on the island of St. Maarten; and the Caribbean capital Nassau in the Bahamas. The second itinerary, visiting the Western Caribbean, includes idyllic destinations such as Ocho Rios in Jamaica; George Town in the Cayman Islands; and Cozumel in Mexico, with stunning white sandy beaches and clear blue sea.

MSC Cruises

Dominican Republic, from La Romana, image courtesy MSC Cruises

New for 2017/18: MSC Fantasia will introduce 7- or 14-night cruises in the Southern Caribbean from Martinique or Guadeloupe. With the debut of a Fantasia class ship in these regions, guests looking for a luxury experience can relish in the MSC Yacht Club, designed for the most discerning guests who desire exclusivity and privacy. New ports of call on these itineraries include Kingstown, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines.

Experiencing these destinations extends beyond just the ports, with a range of specially designed shore excursions to provide guests with lasting memories. Cruisers can swim with Stingrays in St John’s or visit “The Baths” at Virgin Gorda, a famous geological formation consisting of huge, sea-sculpted granite boulders that line the beach and form tidal pools, tunnels, caves, arches and scenic grottoes.

MEDITERRANEAN HIGHLIGHTS

MSC Meraviglia, MSC Cruises’ new flagship will launch in June 2017, sailing the Mediterranean for her inaugural season. For those looking to experience some of the best destinations in Europe during the quieter winter season, MSC Meraviglia will offer seven-night Western Mediterranean cruises until April 2018. Guests can discover the famous Vatican Museum with a fascinating inside visit; explore Barcelona and Montserrat with a tour that ends with a regional wine tasting; marvel at the colorful hillsides of Palermo; or soak up history in the bustling port of Valetta in Malta.

MSC Meraviglia

MSC Meraviglia at sea for the first time; image courtesy MSC Cruises

Designed as the ‘ship for all seasons,’ weather is no factor with virtually endless activities on board. Whether watching one of a kind exclusive Cirque de Soleil at Sea shows, enjoying cocktails and light bites in one of the many bars or restaurants, or simply indulging in an authentic Balinese spa, guests will discover the ship is a destination in herself.

New for 2017/18: MSC Orchestra will also be offering a brand new series of 10-, 11- and 12-night sailings with the convenience of four ports of embarkation including Genoa, Marseille, Barcelona and Civitavecchia. For a full immersion into the jewels of the Mediterranean, guests can choose between a new 10-night itinerary in the heart of the Mediterranean with only one day at sea or an 11-night itinerary to Greece stopping in Corfu, the quaint Greek town of Katakolon and the historic Heraklion in Crete – all with only two days at sea. With full day stays in each port, there will be plenty of time to take in the local culture. Also new for the season is a 12-night itinerary calling at destinations including the beautiful island of Madeira, the rugged volcanic landscape of the Canary Islands, and the tip of Africa with a call in Morocco.

New for 2017/18: MSC Cruises will introduce a number of shore excursions designed for food lovers. Guests can discover Naples’ best-kept secrets in the historical quarter, including baking handmade pizza on the cities subterranean geothermal rock. In Barcelona, guests can enjoy a unique gastronomic experience in the first and only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to Iberian ham.

SOUTH AMERICA HIGHLIGHTS

MSC Cruises will have four ships based in South America for the winter season. MSC Preziosa and MSC Magnifica will offer cruises of up to seven nights from Santos/São Paulo, Brazil; MSC Poesia will offer longer eight and nine-night cruises from Buenos Aires, Argentina; and MSC Musica will offer a range of cruises from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

MSC Cruises

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro – Christ the Redeemer, image courtesy MSC Cruises

Alongside these exciting embarkation ports, itineraries also include stops at exotic destinations including Salvador and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Ilhabela and Ilha Grande islands, and Punta del Este and Montevideo in Uruguay. Throughout the season, guests have the choice of more than 70 departures with itineraries varying in length from seven to nine nights.

DUBAI, ABU DHABI & SIR BANI YAS

MSC Cruises will continue to offer its popular United Arab Emirates cruises with two embarkation ports: Dubai and Abu Dhabi. MSC Splendida, new to the region, will offer guests the most modern ship facilities in the region, including MSC Cruises’ iconic ‘ship within a ship’ concept, MSC Yacht Club, offering guests added privacy and a world of choice.

MSC Cruises

United Arab Emirates, Dubai – Burj Al Arab, image courtesy MSC Cruises

All itineraries will include a call at Sir Bani Yas Island beach oasis, offering 387,500 sq. ft. of pristine golden beaches and access to a massive safari reserve all exclusive to MSC Cruises’ guests on the day that the ship calls. Alongside this destination, itineraries will also include stops at the stunning city of Muscat, Oman, picturesque beach town of Khor al Fakkan as well as Doha, Qatar and Bahrain, both of which were introduced last winter.

New Kelly & Kloe Family Experience

Following the success of the first series of Kelly & Kloe and accompanying onboard experience, the new series will consist of four episodes, each with its own theme — an episode on the brand new mega ship MSC Meraviglia, seasonal episodes for Halloween and Christmas, and a special themed episode, Masquerade.

Kelly and Kloe MSC Cruises

To date, the web series and trailer have been enjoyed by over 1.5 million people on the website and social media. More than 40,000 children have taken part in the on board Kelly and Kloe experience day where the fun of the series is brought to life through a range of interactive activities — just one example of the varied programs specially designed for kids of all ages on board MSC Cruises’ ships.

MSC Cruises has opened auditions for all children on board between the ages of 8 and 17 for a number of roles in the new series. Auditions will be filmed via a green screen experience, where the children will perform the show’s theme song and dance routine and explain on camera why they would like to be featured. Parents can also purchase this video to take home as a souvenir from their cruise.

“Both on and off board, Kelly & Kloe proved very popular with our guests in 2016, and we are delighted to be producing a second series for its fans,” commented Matteo Mancini, Children’s Entertainment Manager at MSC Cruises. “At MSC Cruises we strive to offer the best entertainment in a unique and exciting way. That is why we are so excited to be able to offer our kids the chance to star in series two of Kelly & Kloe. Auditions are now open on all ships in our fleet.”

All entries across the entire MSC Cruises fleet will be collected and reviewed by a judging panel including members of the MSC Cruises’ entertainment division as well as the writer, series producer and director of the series. Judges include Roberto Cuccarini, Roberto di Napoli and Andrea Parodi, all well known for their TV work and musical theatre productions. Casting will run until January 2018 with characters being selected in June, September, and November 2017, and January 2018.

Fans of the Kelly & Kloe series can stay tuned for four brand new episodes which will be available to watch on the following dates: MSC Meraviglia: September 15, 2017, Halloween: October 20, 2017, Christmas: December 15, 2017, Masquerade: February 9, 2018.

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.